Tuesday 06 August 2019
Abu Dhabi - MENA Herald:

A total of 25 teams have been shortlisted by the Authority for Social Contribution – Ma’an to proceed to the pitching phase of their social incubator program, which aims to grow business ideas with a community focus into social enterprises and not-for-profit associations.

It follows a highly competitive selection process which saw more than 130 ventures applying to Ma’an Social Incubator. The first cycle of the incubator will provide solutions for challenges faced by people of determination.

Applications received ranged between ideas and start-ups in the UAE and around the world including as far afield as Brazil, Denmark, France, Nigeria and India. Some of the applications that made the shortlist include technology solutions, assistance living solutions and services, education enhancements and recreational opportunities.

The shortlisted teams will now compete for final 10 places on the Ma’an Social Incubator program, starting in September, where more than AED4.4million will be available in the form of milestone funding and support in the form of mentorship, office space, business expertise and access to investors.

As part of the next stage in the selection process, all 25 teams will receive support to prepare them for the final pitch event where they will be coached on the fundamentals of developing a successful pitch. After this, they will pitch their venture to a judging panel at the end of August who will select the final 10 teams that will participate in the incubation program.

H.E. Salama Al Ameemi said: “At Ma’an our mission is to make a positive social impact in Abu Dhabi, encouraging the growth of the third sector and making a positive difference in the lives of our residents.

“The Ma’an Social Incubator is our first program and it has been fantastic to see such an overwhelmingly positive response from business-minded social entrepreneurs at home and abroad, all committed to developing sustainable solutions for people of determination.

“With such a huge number of applications, it has been extremely difficult to choose a shortlist - but we believe that these 25 teams have the best chance of making the biggest social impact and growing a sustainable social business here in Abu Dhabi.

“While some of these teams will not make it through to the final 10, the hope is that they will learn new skills and refine their venture idea as part of the pitch training. They can then choose to pursue their venture independently or apply for the next incubator cycle.”

The first initiative of its kind in the UAE capital, Ma’an will run annual programs on a regular basis around a different social challenge or priority - with the aim of encouraging more not-for-profits associations and social enterprises that contribute towards the common good.

Successful applicants will be supported with funding and business development support.

The final 10 teams will get access to workshops and training programs to hone their business skills and understand more about the particular social challenge of each cycle, such as understanding more about the lives of people of determination.

The program offers unique and valuable networking opportunities for the teams to build relationships with individuals outside of the program, including investors, third sector leaders and regional and global industry figures. Ma’an will organise ‘demo days’ for the final 10 teams to be able to leverage funding from investors.

Ma’an will invest more than AED4.4 million per cycle – with each team eligible to receive milestone funding up to AED 200,000 released at every successful milestone the participant reaches as well as stipend for living expenses and housing costs for participants not based in Abu Dhabi.

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